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In Like a Lamb and Out Like a Lion

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When I taught kindergarten in the public school, the children and I kept a weather calendar each month. For the month of March, I had a pocket full of cards that either had the face of a lion or the face of a lamb on them. Each day, we would decide if the day had calm, warm, weather like a lamb, or if it had fierce, stormy weather like a lion. At the end of the month, we would decide if March had come in like a lamb or come in like a lion.

Ruts in Our Road

This year, I have decided that thus far, March entered like a lamb and will be ushered out like a lion. The first of March tricked us into thinking that spring would indeed come early this year. The day temperatures hovered over 40 degrees and the intensity of the sun melted snow. Mud season seemed to be in full swing with deep ruts along the road. The stretch of muddy road in front of our farmhouse claimed at least three cars over a 2 day period. Finally a neighbor called the town pleading for a load of gravel to fill in the horrendous holes that had swallowed his car more than once. Then he drove down with his tractor to smooth the gravel out, filling in the most offensive ruts.

We even began tapping maple trees, knowing that we usually totally miss the first week of sap run each year. This year, we felt rather smug, catching those early drops of sap. Now the buckets hang all askew on the trees, with lids blown half way down the road, and covered in snow. We should have known that if “Mr. Sweet”, our neighbor who taps hundreds of trees and hauls sap to every sugar maker on the mountain, was not driving his truck up and down the road with his huge collecting tank in the back of it, then it was not time to tap the trees. (Mr. Sweet is truly not his name, but seems fitting for someone who sells sap and exclaims over how sweet it is.) We feel pretty silly having those buckets hanging out there on the trees just waiting for the temperatures to rise.

The past week, the lion has shown his force with freezing temperatures and nearly blizzard conditions. Yesterday, the snow fell so thick that I could not see the mountains that line the field. The roads have frozen up again, ruts filled in with snow, and no sign of thawing. The snow has piled so deep that the sheep have not wanted to leave their run in next to the barn, but prefer to stay snugged up tight against the end of the barn. With newly shorn coats, they do not want to venture out into the wind and blowing snow. The hope of spring seems months away though the growing bellies on my sheep indicate that lambing and spring must be soon approaching.

So today, I pull the lion face out of my pocket and tape it to the calendar.

Thank you to Luke and Anna Goodling for their amazing photography!